Stella Kramrisch, the museum’s longtime curator of Indian art, was among the twentieth century’s most significant historians of the art and architecture of the Indian subcontinent. She came to Philadelphia in 1950, soon after her personal collection of eighth- to twelfth-century Indian temple sculpture went on display at the museum. This collection formally became part of the museum’s permanent holdings in 1956, and it remains the most significant of its type—for both its historical importance and its quality—in any American museum.
As a curator, Kramrisch made many major acquisitions and created special exhibitions that introduced entire realms of Indian art to the American public. Upon her death, she left more than 700 objects to the museum, including spectacular paintings and sculptures from India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Through her transformative gifts and acquisitions and her rich scholarship, she opened new spheres of art to the museum’s visitors.